Cheers to these two entrepreneurs in Ottawa, KS

Cheers to these two Entrepreneurs in Ottawa, KS! Read about their story and their appreciation for a quality product below:

Sporting apparel with screenprinted liquor bottle logos, Daryl Kleitz and DJ Flummerfelt wandered around their newly acquired warehouse Monday.

Project 17 – Together We Succeed

Duncommun chose to stay, learn more about why:

The incentive package offered by the city to help induce Ducommun Inc. to expand its Parsons facility could reach almost $4 million.

Jim Zaleski, the city’s economic development director, reviewed the incentive package with city commissioners during their Monday evening meeting. It was the first time the proposed incentives have been discussed in an open meeting.
Instead of relocating its local facility to Coffeyville or elsewhere, Ducommun Inc. announced in early March that it would stay in town. On Thursday, John Kelley, Ducommun vice president and general manager of the Parsons plant, announced the company, pending board of directors’ approval in early May, will build 37,000-square-foot and 14,000-square-foot additions. The parking lot also will be expanded and a new drive built to handle heavy truck traffic. The expansion will add over 80 new jobs.
The Parsons City Commission approved a resolution on Jan. 28 that stated the city intends to issue up to $6.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to support the expansion. The company will be responsible for paying off the bonds, but the bonds will trigger incentives from the city, the largest of which is a 10-year property tax abatement on the additional amount of tax caused by the improvement. Ducommun will continue to pay the full amount of taxes on its existing building.

Zaleski said on Monday the city has offered a 100 percent tax abatement for the 10 years, instead of the abatement percentage gradually declining over that period as is most often the case. That would amount to a savings of $3.7 million. The bonds also would come with about $300,000 in savings in construction sales tax, and Zaleski said the incentive package also includes the city paying $45,000 to $60,000 in bond fees.

Additionally, the city would pay the company $300,000. Zaleski said $100,000 would come from the city’s stormwater utility fund in support of the company’s construction of divergent storage drainage or some other way to remove stormwater from the grounds. The remaining $200,000 would come from the city’s industrial fund. While that money won’t completely empty the industrial fund, it will deplete it significantly, however, Zaleski said the expansion project is exactly the type of project the fund is designed to support.

Zaleski said the city is working on Ducommun’s timeline, but he estimated the city staff will seek commission approval of the incentive package on May 16.

Commissioner Jeff Perez asked about updates through the process of the expansion, and Zaleski said there could be quarterly or semi-annual reports on the process as well as hiring levels at the company. He said hopefully Ducommun officials can attend commission meetings for updates.

“They’re going to be in a lengthy construction, so this won’t be as short-term as some of the contracts you’ve seen come out of economic development, but all of this will be tied to them fulfilling their expansion program to some extent,” Zaleski said.
Kelley said on Thursday if Crossland Construction Co. is able to break ground on the project in June, the work could be completed in January.

Project 17 – Together We Succeed

Ducommun to proceed with expansion

By Jamie Willey jwilley@parsonssun.com |

Earlier this year, Parsons was on the brink of losing a major employer, but instead of relocating, Ducommun Inc. decided to maintain its facility at 3333 Main, and on Thursday the general manager announced the plant will be expanded.
“We will be going forward,” John Kelley, Ducommun vice president and general manager of the Parsons facility, said of the expansion plan.

Ducommun had considered accepting what was termed as a very attractive offer from Coffeyville to relocate to that city, but Kelley announced in early March the company would remain here, with the possibility of an expansion.
Kelley said the company has decided to build 37,000-square-foot and 14,000-square-foot additions. The new space would accommodate the addition of more than 80 new jobs. Now it’s up to corporation’s board of directors to approve the expansion, but Kelley thinks the board will agree with the plan.
“We feel very confident that we’re making the right decision and the board will approve it,” Kelley said.
The board will decide on the issue in early May. If the board gives the green light, Kelley said Crossland Construction Co., Columbus, could break ground in June, with a target completion date in January.

Under the plan, Ducommun would vacate its offices at the front of the existing building and move them into the smaller addition that would be built in the middle of the U-shaped building. The vacated office space then would be renovated to manufacturing space. The larger addition would be built on the north side of the existing building, running parallel to abandoned railroad tracks.
JOBS Inc., a privately owned Parsons nonprofit economic development group, is in the process of acquiring the adjacent SEK Mini Storage property and part of the SEK Auto Sales property, and Kelley said the owner, David Stice, already has started vacating. JOBS Inc. will give the property to Ducommun as an incentive to expand. The storage units would be demolished to make way for a parking lot expansion and a driveway to accommodate large trucks delivering material. The SEK Auto Sales building would remain, but Ducommun would get a portion of the auto sales property. Trucks picking up finished product from Ducommun would leave from an existing driveway on the west side of the building.

The city of Parsons also will give the company incentives. The Parsons City Commission approved a resolution on Jan. 28 that stated the city intends to issue up to $6.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to support the expansion. The company will be responsible for paying off the bonds, but the bonds will trigger a 10-year property tax abatement on the assessed valuation of the expansion. Jim Zaleski, economic development director for the city, has said the abatement may be 100 percent. The company will continue to pay the full amount of property taxes on the existing valuation of the building.

Kelley said the city also has proposed a cash incentive. Zaleski, who has declined to reveal the makeup of a potential incentive package during negotiations with the company, said Thursday a payment from the city has been offered since the beginning of talks, but he declined to give the amount.

Zaleski plans to meet with Kelley on Friday to go over step-by-step the expansion plans. They, and probably other city staff members and Ducommun employees, also will discuss the amount of money the city should give to the company and what part of the expansion it should go toward. Besides construction of the addition, the expansion will include new equipment and technology, Kelley said. Zaleski may discuss specifics of the incentive package with city commissioners as soon as their Monday evening meeting.
Zaleski, who knew about the decision to expand prior to Thursday’s announcement by Kelley, obviously was happy about the news.

“We couldn’t be more pleased,” he said.
Zaleski plans to help however he can to fill the more than 80 new jobs to be created. Ryan Seme, director of workforce training at Labette Community College, also may help. Zaleski said LCC’s WorkKeys, which is a series of assessments that measure real world, hard and soft employee skills, may help Ducommun determine which applicants have the right skills for the new jobs.
Zaleski said he doesn’t know the timing of the hiring of the new employees but hopes to hear that information on Friday.

“Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll hear we need to go out and help fill a bunch of jobs, which is great for the city of Parsons,” Zaleski said.
Kelley said Ducommun plans to hire the more than 80 new workers by 2019, but he didn’t specify how many would be hired each year.

“We’re looking at almost doubling the growth here from where we are right now,” Kelley said.

He said he couldn’t reveal the exact number of jobs at the facility.
In addition to the incentives from the city and JOBS Inc., Kelley said the state of Kansas also has offered worker training grants and income tax breaks for new employees moving here from out of state. Kelley has set a rule at the Parsons plant that workers must live within 50 miles of the facility. That will allow the company to hire people from surrounding cities such as Independence, Coffeyville, Chanute and Pittsburg while cutting the turnover that is common for people commuting farther.
The expansion of the facility that builds titanium structures and assemblies for the air and space industry is driven by new business from aircraft manufacturers Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, Airbus and Gulfstream. Kelley said the Parsons facility primarily builds parts for fixed-wing aircraft.
Kelley, who was born and raised in Parsons, said it was a “big relief” for his employees and him that the company was able to stay in town. Ultimately, though, the decision was made based on the needs of Ducommun’s customers as a relocation would have caused disruptions in normal business.

Project 17 – Together We Succeed

Unemployment is declining! Read more here:

Director of Economic Development Heather Smith shared some news regarding the local labor force and economic development with the Fort Scott City Commission on Tuesday. Smith provided commissioners with some employment data obtained through the Kansas Department of Labor and an update on labor force…

Project 17 – Together We Succeed

High school division winners Tegan Maxson and Gwyn Dean, Labette County High School,pitch their business at the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge. | Download this photo.

MANHATTAN — A statewide student entrepreneurship competition featuring 29 high school teams and four universities has awarded entrepreneurial-minded students from across the state with more than $10,000 in prize money.

The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge gave high school and college students from Kansas experience in the process of making a business proposal. The event was organized by the Kansas State University Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in conjunction with Network Kansas.

“It was very gratifying to see so much hard work culminate in the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge at K-State,” said Anne Dewvall, manager of e-community partnerships at Network Kansas. “The highlight was seeing the incredibly talented entrepreneurs from across the state present in front of judges, parents and their peers.”

To qualify, students first competed in idea competitions at the local level for the chance to represent their school in the challenge. The students then traveled to Kansas State University where they delivered a two minute “quick pitch” of their business to a panel of judges that consisted of entrepreneurs, statewide business leaders and investment experts. From those pitches, the judges selected eight high school finalists, and four collegiate finalists, who each then had the opportunity to do a more in-depth presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session with the judges.

“The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge is an opportunity to showcase the tremendous entrepreneurial talent we have in the state of Kansas,” said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. “The real-world experience of pitching a business in front of the type of business experts we have on our panel is invaluable to these students, and provides real-world feedback and support to launch companies within our state.”

Representing Kansas State University in the collegiate division was Ben Jackson, senior in marketing, Manhattan, and Harrison Proffitt, December 2015 bachelor’s graduate in marketing, Hutchinson, who won $2,000 and first place for their pitch for Bungii, a mobile application that will connect users with a driver and pickup for moving big objects around town.

The Co2llect team of Cory McCurry, Marcos Felipe Goncalves Silva and Michaela Diercks from Fort Hays State University, Hays, took second place and $1,500 home for their pitch centered on a carbon dioxide measuring device and app. Brista Robinson, Washburn University in Topeka, placed third with a $1,000 prize for her pitch of Kanza Konez, a potato chip ice cream cone. Rounding out the collegiate division was Emporia State University’s Megan Allen, whose pitch for natural skin product Nfusion took home $500.

In the high school division, Tegan Maxson and Gwyn Dean, Labette County High School in Altamont, took first place and $1,500 in the high school division for their pitch of M&D Crop Diagnosis, a drone-powered crop diagnostic service.

In a tie for second, with each team taking home $1,000, were Corbin Crawford and Logan McHenry, Hoisington High School, for their smartphone screen replacement service Cardinal Screen Repair, and Ahrash Karbasi and Chris James, Blue Valley Northwest High School, Overland Park, for their e-sports tournament business Competitive Gaming Legion.

The five other high school division finalists each received a $500 prize: Kathleen Miller, Arlington; Reece Leonard, Cheylin West High School in Bird City; Max Pierce, Columbus Unified High School; Molly Moden, Trego Community High School WaKeeney; and J. Larkin Witte, Winfield High School.

Also competing in the high school division: Danielle Ruiz, Rawlins County Senior High School, Atwood; Clark Loewer and Clayton Cook, Central Senior High School, Burden; Katey Freeman and Camrin Sellers, Southeast High School, Cherokee; Brendan Pfizenmaier, Clay Center Community High School; Kailey Shields, Jersey Carney, Hallie Vaughn, Maia Cape, Marina Conner and Christian Calliham, Colby High School; Jade Artzer, Goodland High School; Caleb Rempel and Kyle Unruh, both from Hillsboro High School; Shyla Mason, Wichita County High School, Leoti; Mckenzee Remmers, Erika Hess, Brittany Hett, Marissa Jacobson, Emily Davies and Colin Williams, Marion High School; Gabi Cabell and Jon Meyer, Blue Valley North High School, Hannah Harrick, Blue Valley Southwest High School, and Jack Ingram and Hunter Lopez, Blue Valley West High School,all in Overland Park; Tatum Bartels and Madi Mathes, Phillisburg High School; Jaden Roggow and Levi Lowe, Sedan Senior High School; Marina Valadez, D.J. Peak and Corey Wenrich, Stafford High School; and Isaac Nigus, Wamego High School.

Hot Meals for Needy One Step Closer

By Michael Stavola

Posted May. 16, 2016 at 5:39 PM

Pittsburg, Kan.

PITTSBURG — Construction plans to better feed the needy of Southeast Kansas were revealed Monday at the newly acquired location formerly known as Parrot Bey.

Parrot Bey and Corner Bistro in Pittsburg were acquired last Thursday and will be the future site of the Lord’s Diner. The diner is slated for Nov. 1 and will serve an estimated 200 to 250 meals a night, 365 days a year. Joe Dellasega has been one of the many faces behind the local effort to feed the hungry and spoke to about 50 people in the future dining area.

“I think with this project work has not even begun,” Dellsega said. “We’re not hoping to make this illusion that we are celebrating this high-point, this is just a milestone along the way.”

The Pittsburg location was chosen due to community support and food insecurities in the county. According to Feeding America, in 2014, 17.4 percent of people worried about their next meal in Crawford County compared to 14.2 percent in the state.

The Diocese of Wichita began the Lord’s Diner program 14 years ago. The Pittsburg location will be through the nonprofit’s food program that feeds roughly 2,500 meals a night.

Dellasega’s connection to the Diocese of Wichita through Our Lady of Lourdes helped bring the diner to fruition. Jan Haberly is the director of the Lord’s Diner and drove from Wichita for the milestone event.

“We are excited to be here. It has been a long journey,” Haberly said. “When you get a (building) it feels real.”

The renovations will be done by Crossland Construction and are slated for summer.

The work will require knocking down part of the wall separating the buildings to better serve food. The kitchen space will be expanded to take two-thirds of the old Corner Bistro with the front third being turned into office space.

The search for a director will also begin this summer, then a director of volunteers and kitchen staff. Haberly said there will be three to four full-time positions and one to two part time.

Lord’s Diner received a $130,000 loan from the City of Pittsburg in February. Dellasega said other donations came from community members.

Dellasega named several community members behind the endeavor, including Marcee Binder, who eventually plans to reduce some of her food services for the needy at Wesley House. She is also a member of the Pittsburg Lord’s Diner board of directors.

“I don’t want to compete, I think there is great value in this,” Binder said. “We are going to encourage our people to come here Monday through Sunday for a hot meal … It’s a great win for our community.”


Area Produces Entrepreneurs

By Submitted by the City of Pittsburg

Posted May 17, 2016 at 5:45 PM
Updated May 17, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Pittsburg, Kan.

In a town of 20,000 platted on a patch of prairie on foundations laid by coal miners and railroaders, seven jets are housed at a busy airport.

The jets belong to companies that call Pittsburg home — companies that started at kitchen tables and in basements, and now employ thousands of employees who serve national and global markets.

“There is something in the water here,” laughed Ken Brock, president of Names & Numbers, as the company celebrated its 42nd anniversary. “There are more entrepreneurial people in Pittsburg than any town I know of. I’ve often wondered what would make this one town be as inspirational to as many people as it has.”

He does not know the answer.

But he didn’t mind pausing from the business of overseeing the creation and distribution of phone books in 70 markets to speculate.

“I guess I would say that there’s encouragement and inspiration from what other people have done,” he said.

Billionaire businessman Gene Bicknell, who came from humble beginnings and went on to found several hugely successful companies in Pittsburg, has been a good friend to Brock for many years and has always been approachable.

So have other executives who have grown their businesses to million dollar annual revenues, but who are “ordinary guys” who still can be found tailgating in jeans and Pittsburg State University sweatshirts in the PSU parking lot each Saturday during football season, Brock said.

“I can sit down on the farm with Gene and talk because that’s where we still live today,” he said. “We have our roots in a more humble place than business. That’s part of the magic in Pittsburg. Every one of these people, you can sit down and have coffee with. You can ask advice. Ask for solutions.”

‘Home Grown’

Brock grew up in a town one county away with dirt streets and a few hundred residents. “It was an adventure to come to Pittsburg,” Brock recalls. “If you came to Pittsburg, you really were doing something.”

His mother and father started a telephone company in their living room — switchboard and everything, Mayberry style — that as a child, Brock learned to operate. They soon had need for telephone directories, which his dad had typeset and paid for with an advertisement from the local feed store. As a teen, Brock became his salesman.

In 1974, his dad sold his business to a company in Minnesota, and Brock sought out an opportunity to start his own phone book company in Pittsburg. He bought files from a Springfield business that was closing, brought them home in the trunk of his Fort Ltd., replaced his living room furniture with a desk and file cabinet, and went to work. Brock, who has never been to college, now employs 250 people — half of whom live in Pittsburg and half who are in 12 satellite offices across the U.S. A shelf in the front lobby is filled with industry awards from the company has garnered.